Black-owned soft serve ice cream truck Sweet Mama’s (re)opens in Tampa this weekend

UPDATE: The truck is closed until further notice.

click to enlarge Black-owned soft serve ice cream truck Sweet Mama’s (re)opens in Tampa this weekend
Photo via sweetmamastampa/Instagram

Sweet Mama’s Ice Cream truck, owned by Akwi Njoh and business partner Jahkeal Samuel, will be opening March 6 at 1630 N. Franklin St. across from Hidden Springs Ale Works.

The mobile shop opened Feb. 28 for a couple of days, but like a lot of new businesses had to take a brief pause and reassess. 

“After our grand opening we realized there were a few technical difficulties we had to iron out!” Njoh said in an email chat with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

UPDATE On Sunday, March 7, Sweet Mama's wrote that, "It burdens us to make this decision, but we are making major adjustments as we continue to grow in order to best serve our community. Please continue to stay updated through this page and our Instagram." 

Focusing on soft-serve, the menu has options to pair ice cream with warm cookies, a WTF bowl (waffle, topping, fudge), classic cones and a “Shake What Ya Mama Gave Ya” create-your-own milkshake. Mama’s will also be posting secret menu items on its Instagram page.

Njoh and Samuel have higher goals than just making money off of ice cream. 

“Jahkeal and I want to create a diverse environment for our Tampa community to gather,” Njoh said. “Although we are serving ice cream, our greater purpose is to assist other minority entrepreneurs interested in launching a business.”

Both grew up in Tampa, and both graduated from Alonso High School. Njoh graduated last year from the University of South Florida with a Biological Health Sciences degree.

According to an Instagram post, besides loving a former job at Carvel, “social injustices, racial tensions and minority underrepresentation” inspired Njoh to do something that helps the community.

“...We asked ourselves ‘How can we bring change to the black community in Tampa?’” Njoh’s post said. “I was fortunate to receive that answer from a kind stranger I met one day at a park, who grew up in West Tampa (a predominantly black neighborhood in Tampa).”

“He explained to me, the way to ensure black neighborhoods (specifically low income) don’t lose value and instead appreciate in value is by making the surrounding areas scalable,” Njoh said. 

Njoh and Samuel made a plan and the result is Sweet Mama’s.

“We are humbled to serve the Tampa Bay Area and be representatives for its minority neighborhoods.” 

Sweet Mama’s hours are Wed-Fri. 3:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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